Another twist to the Craigavon Two’s nightmare has emerged that could have massive implications for both Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton. To date, both men have already spent 11 years behind bars in the high security Maghaberry prison outside Belfast.
The case of the Craigavon Two has been described as one of the biggest miscarriages of justice since the Guildford Four or the Birmingham Six. Sentenced following a non-jury trial with no factual evidence and with tracking devices manipulated by the state. Both Brendan and John Paul are currently serving 25 & 18 years for their supposed involvement in the murder of a member of the PSNI, with both men categorically rejecting any involvement in the events.
The new evidence focuses on Dennis McFadden, a former Scottish cop turned MI5 spy. McFadden was outed in late August, after playing a leading role in Operation Arbacia, which culminated at the end of this summer with the arrest of nine suspected leading New IRA members.
It has been revealed that McFadden had been an agent for more than 20 years, initially infiltrating Sinn Féin and a number of republican organisations, mainly in the area of republican prisoners, and finally making contact with militant republican ‘dissidents’ shortly after the New IRA was founded in 2012. And yet the most disturbing development of the story is MI5’s sickening infiltration of the campaign for the release of Wootton and McConville, known as Justice for the Craigavon Two, for which McFadden quickly volunteered, becoming one of it’s most active members.
McFadden was often present at meetings with both their defence lawyers and family members, in their own sitting rooms, and insisted on personally managing the social media campaign himself.
He would have had access to sensitive information to report back and undermine any possibility of a successful appeal. Is this a case of the state’s dirty war to keep two innocent people behind bars by any means necessary? The solicitors of both men have filed a case with the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which could lead to the trial being deemed unsafe because of the involvement of multiple state factors manipulating evidence.
Speaking with Channel 4 News on McFadden, Brendan McConville said : “I believe he sabotaged my appeal, I felt he had a real genuine concern for justice, little did I know that he was the hand of MI5. The conviction is wrong, it’s a miscarriage of justice I had absolutely nothing to do with the events of that night at all!”
John Paul Wooton, who was a 17 year old child at the time of his arrest, is now 28. While in prison, he became more politically conscious and active on many issues. He has been continuing to campaign not only for their own release, but also against the conditions in which prisoners are kept within Maghaberry overall.
As anarchist he has acted on issues such as raising levels of mental illness, drug abuse as well as other areas of social justice. His attempts to bring this and other situations to the attention of the prison authorities have in turn made him subject to punishment, from withdrawal of certain privillages to solitary confinement. As anarchists we must stand in solidarity with both John Paul and Brendan and in doing so refuse to remain silent on such a gross miscarriage of justice that has become known as the Craigavon Two.
This is yet another outrageous text book miscarriage of justice created by the British State. Brendan and John Paul are two innocent men who were chosen by the State and its secretive military apparattus, to put someone up as scapegoats to keep the politicial establishment in the North happy.
Like countless other injustices which have plagued our history, the Craigavon Two are being used as a warning to others who would dare to challenge or question the State’s authority.
The fact that the state has been caught yet again infiltrating a campaign for human rights, as in the countless of cases related to the ‘Spy cops’ scandal, should be denounced by everyone concerned with social justice.
We cannot tolerate this injustice to go on unnoticed and ignored. For those of us who hold any sense of social justice dear by they anarchists, socialists, trade unionists or human rights activists, everyone of us must continue to demand the immediate release of two innocent men.
You can send a message of support, a post card etc to them directly. Let them know that you are thinking about them and demand their immediate release:
Write to the following addresses:
Maghaberry Prison, Roe House (Roe 4)
Old Road, Ballinderry Upper
Lisburn, BT28 2PT, North Ireland
John Paul Wootton
Davis House, Maghaberry Prison,
Old Road, Ballinderry Upper
Lisburn, BT28 2PT, North Ireland.
Article taking from the latest edition of Barricade Bulletin